The rainfall earlier in the week meant the postponing of several games in the New Bridge Spring Member’s Cup 6-goal.
However, the layoff may have actually been beneficial for both the polo players and horses. And although it may have taken a chukker or two to find themselves, Bodega Gratia/Idea Factory held on for a 7-6 victory Saturday over Antonio and the Three Stooges, and they will meet Karna Sunday morning in the finals.
Both teams came into the contest with identical 1-1 records, and the ability to win and control the bowl-ins, ball possession, and dictating the pace of the play would be key variables in the equation. Bodege Gratia/Idea Factory would strike first on a 90-yard goal by Tom Uskup. They would continue to generate offensive chances by relentlessly attacking the offensive zone, and through their teamwork found themselves in position to take advantage of those scoring opportunities as Romulo Crespo finished a sequence by scoring from 110 yards out.
Antonio and the Three Stooges would answer back as Antonio Galvan took control from the ensuing bowl-in, making it a one goal game going into the second chukker.
Antonio and the Three Stooges’ approach to the game was perfectly tailored to the strength of their roster. One player in particular made the difference in the period, tying the game by taking the ball the length of the field, the first of Isabella Wolf’s two goals, who shook off the opposing defenders to score. Romulo Crespo scored for Bodega/Gratia during the second chukker leaving both teams even at the half.
“They have good, savvy players on their team,” said Uskup. “Isabella Wolf, from Team USPA, played really well. I’m glad to see the Team USPA Players get a chance. Campbell (Davis) is a nice player. It was a real fun game.”
The penultimate chukker turned out to be the pivotal period as Bodega Gratia/Idea Factory’s patient play allowed them to take advantage of several fouls committed by the opposition as Romulo Crespo scored on consecutive penalty shots. Antonio Galvan would respond by recording a goal from the ensuing bowl-in. But, it was Bodega Gratia/Idea Factory’s constant pressure that created opportunities, and they would score their third goal of the period by way of a successful penalty conversion, with Tom Uskup scoring from the site of the infraction. A goal by Cissie Snow from the ensuing bowl-in with 42 seconds remaining in the chukker reduced the deficit to a goal.
The final chukker saw both teams trade goals with Crespo finishing a sequence started by Uskup providing Bodega Gratia/Idea Factory with a two goal advantage. Antonio and the Three Stooges capped the scoring as Galvan scored on a 40-yard penalty shot.
“It took a couple of chukkers for us to find our rhythm,” said Uskup. “Romulo Crespo is real consistent, knows how to control the game, and did a real good job of that today. It really helped us stay balanced. Fortunately we slipped away with a win.”